OPENING: The demographic shift that’s happening and its implications for marketing are likely to be one of the most profound disruptions in centuries. With dramatically falling global fertility rates and a fortified older generation, we’re headed for a planet populated by older adults who will remain healthier for longer by using technology to maintain their bodies.
Not only will older people live longer, but there is also a prediction of a global lack of healthcare workers to look after them, with a shortfall of 9.9 million doctors, nurses, and midwives expected by 2030. Together with the growth in wearables—projected to be worth nearly $120 billion by 2028—we are seeing growing democratization of knowledge of one’s own body, with tech enabling consumers to take a more active and regular role in their healthcare.
We’ll have to get to grips with the idea that adults will work longer and retire later but go on living with more energy and more cash and want the best life has to offer into their 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Also, the rise of “anti-woke culture” is arguably enabled by a more vocal, active, and swelling generation of “life veterans” pushing back on trends that don’t fit with their more traditional values.
Within marketing, rather than agencies clamoring to employ people young enough to understand what emerging cultural trends brands should exploit in their campaigns, they may instead need to lean on more experienced veterans and professionals to comprehend the needs of older demos.
Media strategies may come to be led not by the desire to cram more modern technologies into plans but to work out ways to use existing and well-loved channels with greater efficiency and include older cohorts in campaigns rather than intimidate or exclude them.
The number of Americans age 60 and older increased by 34%, from 55.7 million to 74.6 million. … Since 1900, the percentage of Americans age 65 and older nearly quadrupled (from 4.1% in 1900 to 16% in 2019). The number increased more than 17 times (from 3.1 million to 54.1 million).
Marketers should recognize that today’s older consumers “are focused on anti-aging and breaking the mold of what 50 looks like,” researchers at California State University and Southern Connecticut State University wrote in a study published by the Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business. Any companies that tap into this potential stand to gain. In any industry, the first brand to transform its outreach to the 50-plus set could win over millions of consumers — consumers with more money to spend than their children.
This demographic shift and its implications for marketing are likely to be one of the most profound disruptions in centuries. With dramatically falling global fertility rates and a fortified older generation, we’re headed for a planet populated by older adults who will remain healthier for longer by using technology to maintain their bodies.